Did you know that iron deficiency in pregnancy affects the newborn at a certain moment? If yes, are you sure you are doing enough to stay on the right track?
Before passing to the diversification of food, meaning up to 6 months, breast milk offers to the organism the entire necessary amount of iron. However, after this age, it`s essential to offer the child foods rich in iron to satisfy the organism`s needs and avoid the occurrence of anemia.
Iron is considered to be among the most common deficiency among children around the world. Usually, this is the result of a poor diet, but can be combated through very simple methods. How does iron deficiency manifest in children and what can be done about it?
The most predisposed category of this condition is represented by babies, preschoolers and teenagers because their needs for iron cannot be met if they don`t follow a well balanced diet.
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What Is Iron Deficiency?
Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, and involves the fact that the organism doesn`t have enough hemoglobin in red blood cells (the cells that transport oxygen through the lungs to the child`s tissues). Although the term of anemia is used more commonly to describe the lack of iron in children, there are lots of type of anemia, this one what we are talking about being only known as iron deficiency anemia.
In newborns, the most common form of anemia is iron deficiency, which occurs when the body isn`t able to retain iron. Without enough iron, the body produces smaller and less red blood cells, and the result consists from less available hemoglobin, and the body`s cells won`t be fueled with enough oxygen. – More similar info!
Iron deficiencies are most often discovered in children smaller than 2 years and may cause serious issues. Therefore, don`t hesitate to reach for your doctor to ensure yourself that your little one is well and if he isn`t, to remedy his deficiency.
The causes of iron deficiencies are countless, the most common ones being: insufficient iron absorption from food, rapid growth, lack of iron in blood, repeated infections, blood losses or lack of vitamin B12. The main cause that leads to anemia is iron insufficiency in the child`s food.
Other causes may involve feeding the child with non-forged iron powder milk, poor diet, dietetic restrictions, the administration of cow`s milk as the main source of milk before 12 months, lack of meat from food, gastro intestinal diseases or lead intoxication.
Signs & Symptoms
- Behavioral issues.
- Repeated infections.
- Loss of appetite.
- Shortness of breath.
- Excessive sweat.
- Weird cravings (pica).
- Developmental delays.
- Skin pallor.
Generally, these signs install in a longer period of time, therefore they aren`t noticed right away. That`s why, to prevent the occurrence of this deficiency, it`s recommended to perform some annual blood analysis.
Necessary Amount of Iron in Children
Newborns have deposits of iron even from the period they`ve been inside the uterus (if the mother`s diet was well balanced). Then, doctors recommend a daily intake of:
- 11 mg between 7 and 12 months;
- 7 mg between 1 and 3 years;
- 10 mg between 4 and 8 years;
- 8 mg between 9 and 13 years;
- 15 mg between 14 and 18 years.
We should keep in mind that a high intake of iron can be harmful, even fatal when it comes to children; therefore, it`s best to keep the iron supplements away from them.
Food Sources of Iron
Experts believe that in specific forms of anemia, diet plays an essential role. It`s very important to know when the problem of anemia can be solved through proper diet and when you require medical treatment. Unfortunately, there are also a series of causes of iron deficiency, especially those caused by hereditary diseases, which cannot be influenced by nutrition. However, both iron deficiency and megaloblastic anemia (the one caused by a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12) can be prevented through diet.
A varied and well balanced diet can help you avoid such a situation. There are 2 types of iron:
- Heme iron;
- Non-heme iron.
The first form, which can be found in fish and meat, is absorbed very easily by the child`s organism. The second one, offered by fresh and dried fruits and vegetables or dairy products, is absorbed by the organism in smaller amount. Thus, you should combine green vegetables with some meat and the issue is solved. Some of the iron is eliminated on a daily basis; that`s why, through proper nutrition, you need to ensure your child the necessary reserve. Green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, leek), fruits, fruit juices (home-made), eggs (up to 1 year you should give your child only yolk to avoid a possible allergy), chicken meat, chicken or beef liver, fish, cereals; all this will offer your child enough iron to stay healthy.
If necessary, the doctor will recommend supplements to children over 1 year old. Breastfed newborns don`t need iron supplements because the maternal milk has enough iron if the mother has a optimal nutritional status, but the menu of babies over 8 months needs to contain iron supplements.
The treatment consisting of iron supplements is usually associated with the administration of vitamin C (broccoli, cabbage, spinach, oranges, kiwi, lemons, tomatoes), which help with a better iron absorption. These supplements can be found in several pharmaceutical forms: drops, capsules, syrup or tablets for older children.
Feroglobin (capsules) is a food supplements based on iron, vitamin B6 and B12, zinc and folic acid, which contribute to the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. The product doesn`t irritate the stomach, can be administered to the entire family (not only to children) and doesn`t present side effects.
However, the simplest method of treatment is represented by a proper diet. When it comes to babies, solid food needs to be introduced at the right time, depending on the recommendation of the doctor (and only after 1 or even 2 years), along with the cow`s milk and/or powder milk enriched with iron (when breastfeeding the administration of powder milk is ended). – Click here!
For older children, it`s best to use red meat 3 or 4 times per week and limit the consumption of chips and sodas that, otherwise, don`t bring any benefit (they lead to obesity and other health issues. When teenagers are concerned, it`s best to encourage the moderate consumption of tea and/or coffee, because they may interfere with the absorption of iron.